Billions needed to fix the leakages.
WHILE Gogga Pump Station farmers are losing thousands of rands worth of livestock as a result of the sewage that is flooding the area, a report has indicated that billions of rands is needed to repair the leakages.
Chairperson of the Gogga Pump Station farmers association, Merriam Mbanga said that four cattle from the commange had slipped and fallen into the trenches while crossing the sewage-filled terrain this week.
“One of my calves drowned after falling into the canal yesterday (Thursday). We managed to save another cow that had fallen in. We are worried that the residents from Platfontein may fall ill if they eat the meat from the calf.
“Sol Plaatje municipality must build a bridge for our livestock to cross because there is no alternative grazing land. All the mayors who were in power have come to us with promises but then they vanish into thin air.”
She indicated that farmers were suffering stock losses in the region of between R16 000 per cow.
“The calf is valued at about R10,000 and we do not have any insurance for stock losses. I lost 22 sheep and goats in January that died after ingesting the water that was contaminated with sewage and died. They contract worms and diseases from the sewage and it also affects the quality of the meat.”
Spokesperson for the Department of Land Reform, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Environmental Affairs Zandisile Luphahla stated that the problem at Gogga Pump Station was “much bigger than anticipated”.
He indicated that the department had decided not to open criminal charges against Sol Plaatje Municipality as originally planned for the environmental hazard after receiving a report indicating that billions of rands was needed to fix the problem.
“A moratorium was previously placed on development in the city as the infrastructure is not designed to handle increased capacity of a growing city that includes the university and other developments.”
Luphahla added that the MEC for the Department of Land Reform, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Environmental Affairs, Mase Manopole would engage with stakeholders in an attempt to source funding.
“While the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation did provide R28 million it is not enough to fix the problem.”
Spokesperson for Sol Plaatje municipality Sello Matsie said they would meet with the farmers on the commonage to attend to their grievances.
He indicated that the Gogga Pump Station was functioning.
“The leakages are caused by a pipe that pumps sewage from Gogga Pump Station to Homevale Wastewater Treatment Plant that is broken. It is undergoing repairs to increase capacity. The pump was switched off to prevent the flooding of houses. The acidity of the sewage also erodes the pipes.”